Traffic Death and Injury Rates Doubled in Long Beach School Zones

Death, pedestrian-vehicle, and accident injury rates are roughly doubled adjacent to Long Beach schools.
Death, pedestrian-vehicle, and accident injury rates are roughly doubled on residential streets adjacent to Long Beach schools.

California Highway Patrol (CHP) traffic collision data (provided by UC Berkeley) were obtained and an independent analysis was performed by the School Neighbors Association to evaluate traffic accident rates near Long Beach schools.  The analysis was performed using geographic information system (GIS) software with data for the 2003 to 2011 period.  The analysis compared:

  1. Traffic collision rates on all school zone surface streets compared to all other surface streets in Long Beach; and
  2. Traffic collision rates on all residential school zone streets compared to all other residential surface streets in Long Beach.

The analysis was relatively simple.  To calculate accident rates, accidents were separate into two groups:  (1) accidents within 150 feet of a school (which is defined here as a “School Zone”) and (2) all other accidents.  The number of accidents in different categories (total collisions, deaths, injuries, pedestrian accidents, etc.) were divided by the total length of streets to calculate an accident rate.

This process was repeated by further filtering for accidents within 100 feet of a residential parcel to calculate accident rates on residential streets.

Results Summary

The results for both analyses show the same general trends:

  1. Traffic collision rates are higher in Long Beach school zones (8.1% to 56.1% more prevalent in school zones compared to non-school zones);
  2. The number of people killed per mile of street is higher in Long Beach school zones (55.5% to 97.3% more prevalent in school zones compared to non-school zones);
  3. The number of people injured per mile of street is higher in Long Beach school zones (59.6% to 82.2% more prevalent in school zones compared to non-school zones);
  4. The number of collisions involving pedestrians per mile of street is higher in Long Beach school zones (89.5% to 123.1% more prevalent in school zones compared to non-school zones);
  5. The number of collisions involving bicycles per mile of street is higher in Long Beach school zones (30.7% to 31.4% more prevalent in school zones compared to non-school zones); and
  6. The number of collisions involving motorcycles per mile of street is higher in Long Beach school zones (48.1% to 52.6% more prevalent in school zones compared to non-school zones).

Long Beach School Zone traffic resulted in an additional 51 collisions every year above background rates.  On average, these increased School Zone collisions caused a death in 2 out of every 3 years and it causes 72 injuries every year, including 12 collisions between vehicles and pedestrians.

The analysis of the CHP traffic collision data demonstrates that, for the 9-year period from 2003 to 2011, traffic accident rates in Long Beach resulting in injury and/or death were substantially more prevalent in school zones than on other Long Beach streets.  Traffic accidents involving pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles were also substantially more prevalent in school zones.  Particularly noteworthy is that on residential streets in school zones, accident rates involving pedestrians were more than double the rates compared to other residential streets.

Results Data Tables

Results for each analysis are presented in the following tables.  This information is also available in a downloadable PDF.

School Traffic Accident Rates (2003 – 2011): Comparison of Accident Rates on All School Zone Streets to All Long Beach Surface Streets
School Traffic Accident Rates (2003 – 2011): Comparison of Accident Rates on All School Zone Streets to All Long Beach Surface Streets
School Traffic Accident Rates (2003 – 2011): Comparison of Accident Rates on Residential School Zone Streets to Other Residential Long Beach Surface Streets
School Traffic Accident Rates (2003 – 2011): Comparison of Accident Rates on Residential School Zone Streets to Other Residential Long Beach Surface Streets
Editor's Note:  This article was updated on May 30, 2016.

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